The Kingdom of Thailand rejoice at the celebration of Their Majesties the King and Queen’s fifty-second wedding anniversary
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Her
Majesty Queen Sirikit will celebrate Their 52nd wedding anniversary on
Sunday, April 28.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Mom Rajawongse
Sirikit Kitayakara were married by Her Majesty Queen Sawang Vadhana, the
paternal grandmother of His Majesty, at the Sra Pathum Palace in Bangkok
on April 28, 1950.
Mom Rajawongse Sirikit, the daughter of the Thai
Ambassador to France Mom Chao Nakkhatmongkol Kitayakara and Mom Luang Bua
Sanitwongse, met the soon-to-be-King at the Thai Embassy in Paris in 1948.
They were engaged to be married at the Windsor Hotel in Lausanne,
Switzerland on July 19, 1949.
They returned to Thailand during the government of
Prime Minister Field Marshal Pibul Songkhram and a stunningly beautiful
marriage ceremony was held while the Thai military forces formed to honor
and salute the Royal Couple.
Following the Royal marriage, His Majesty King Bhumibol
Adulyadej the Great ascended the throne, becoming the ninth King of
Thailand in the Chakri Dynasty with all the pomp and pageantry befitting a
Royal coronation on May 5, 1950.
Their Majesties have four children, HRH Princess
Ubolratana, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri
Sirindhorn, and HRH Princess Chulabhorn.
Water canons, powder and ice seized in Songkran clampdown
Police also tried to prevent sexual harassment against women during the celebrations
Police confiscated a large number of large water
pistols, PVC pipe ‘guns’, ice blocks and powder during this year’s
Songkran water wars in an attempt to prevent accidents.
blocks of ice like this one were a no-no during this year’s Songkran
splash fest, as were powder and PVC water ‘cannons’, and police made
an attempt to confiscate materials and fine anyone abusing the intended
spirit of the festival.
Suan Panomwattanakul, chairman of the Chonburi Cultural
Council said the clampdown was done with cooperation from Pattaya City and
TAT. “The aim was to impress upon tourists the importance of preserving
the traditional values of Thai culture, rather than the festival evolving
into the water war which it has become,” he said.
“It’s dangerous when streams of water being
expelled from these weapons hit someone in the eyes or ears, especially
when the victim temporarily loses control of their motorbike or car,” he
said, adding, “The use of bowls of water rather than guns is the
preferred method during Songkran.”
From the start of the national Songkran festival until
its conclusion, Pattaya police, tourist police and city officials issued
warnings to all people splashing water to follow the rules.
The Chonburi Cultural Council chairman also said using
the excuse of playing with powder to sexually harass women was also an
issue. Officials attempted to ensure the safety and dignity of everyone
participating in Songkran. Police previously issued warnings to everyone
that this type of behavior would not be tolerated. It is not known whether
any arrests were made.
TAT director wants to ensure long staying tourists don’t take jobs from Thais
Diana Group and their new 100 million baht project are keeping a wary eye on new regulations
The government is debating the recent changes in
regulations making it easier for retirees from overseas to stay in the
Kingdom, and wants to ensure these retirees don’t take jobs away from
The Diana Group, meanwhile, is keeping a watchful eye
on the progress of the Kingdom’s “Long Stay” program, as the group
has recently invested a lot of money hoping to attract this segment of the
The changes put forth by the Senate Representative for
the Tourism Authority of Thailand include stipulating applicants must be
50 years of age and above (not 55 and above), and must have no previous
Applicants for the program must still have a bank
account balance of no less than 800,000 baht, but under the new
regulations, a credit card guarantee is acceptable in the first year.
However, by the second year the applicant must deposit 800,000 baht into a
bank account or have no less than 65,000 baht per month being deposited
into a local bank account to prevent the applicants from taking jobs away
from Thai nationals. There will be no opportunity for applicants to apply
for a work permit.
A new visa category has also been issued, the OA visa,
which is renewable annually. Conditions for applying for this type of visa
also include the “no previous history of criminal activity in the
country of origin or in Thailand” clause, plus applicants must have a
proven record and be upstanding persons. Currently there are only 12
people under this umbrella, 6 Japanese nationals, 3 British nationals and
3 from the USA.
Debate over the long stay project began last February
when Somsak Thesputin, minister to the office of the prime minister
charged with taking care of the TAT and promoting tourism in Thailand,
suggested the program.
Locally, the managing director of the Diana Group,
Sopin Thappajug said the group has already invested over 100 million baht
in its own long stay program.
She also said that during the Diana Group’s 20 years
of experience with long staying guests, the group has never had any
notable problems with residents, management or staff.
She said that the only problems she could foresee would
be with businesses that lack experience in dealing with this particular
group of tourists.
Khao Kheow Zoo celebrates the birth of another giraffe in captivity
Second birth in 2 months
At 9 a.m. on April 16th, management at the Khao Kheow
Open Zoo in Bangphra, Sriracha were delighted to announce the birth of
another healthy giraffe. It was the second giraffe born at the zoo in as
giraffe licks the newborn and coaxes it to stand up.
However, the mother had to endure a long 4-hour
struggle. When her strength began to diminish, veterinarians stepped in
and assisted the rest of the birth.
The mother giraffe, using her nose and tongue,
eventually coaxed the new baby giraffe to stand-up and in no time it was
up groping for milk from the mother’s four nipples.
A giraffe’s average life span is 20-30 years.
The team at Khao Kheow Zoo were pleased to see that the
new addition to the family arrived safely, and that the conditions at the
zoo have provided an ideal environment for breeding these animals.
Anyone with a suggestion for a name for the new giraffe
can write the Khao Kheow Zoo at P.O. Box 6, Bangphra, Sriracha, Chonburi
20210, or visit the zoo’s website www.zoothailand.org
1st Military Flotilla brings fresh water to Larn Island
Lack of rain causing drought conditions on the island
The Royal Thai Navy last week brought fresh water from
Sattahip to the residents of Larn Island to help relieve drought
Vice Admiral Aganit Maurnsri, commander of the 1st
Military Flotilla, led 100 naval officers from the Royal Thai Navy ship,
Petra to bring fresh water to the island village community.
It was the second time the navy has provided this
service to the village, as there has been no other government agency to
assist the island community.
Two ships from the Royal Thai Navy, the Ardung and the
Petra, delivered 120 tons of fresh water to Larn Island, starting on April
18, with a second delivery on April 25.
The island community is facing drought conditions due
to the lack of rain during the last rainy season.
Monruedee Bunrerngsanah wins the title of Miss Songkran Pattaya 2002
Mayor’s entrant - also wins People’s Choice Award
As the curtain fell on Pattaya’s ‘Wan Lai’
celebrations, 30 refreshing young women vied for the annual beauty contest
title of Miss Songkran Pattaya.
to R) Runner-up Miss Pattaya Jinnabutr, Miss Songkran Pattaya 2002
Monruedee Bunrerngsanah, and 2nd Runner-up Miss Anongnart Luengprasert.
The winner of this year’s pageant was Miss Monruedee
Bunrerngsanah, aged 23, who was nominated by Pattaya’s mayor, Pairat
Monruedee was crowned Miss Songkran Pattaya 2002,
winning the title, crown, trophy and prize money. Miss Monruedee also won
the People’s Choice award.
The four female judges came to their decision after the
young women, dressed in traditional Thai outfits and modern dress, paraded
in front of the spectators.
Miss Pattaya Jinnabutr, aged 15, was judged runner up.
Miss Anongnart Luengprasert, aged 17, finished 2nd
The “Media’s Favorite” award went to Kethulrus
Suchkasem, aged 22. All winners received sashes, crowns and prize money.
Dr. Suwit Jeerawatanaruk, advisor to the Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives presided over the beauty pageant, which was
held in the closing hours of April 21.
Pattaya hosts hemorrhagic fever prevention training
Deputy Mayor Wuttisak Rermkijakarn presided over a
training session last week aimed at reducing the spread of hemorrhagic
fever in Pattaya.
The seminar for local community leaders was titled,
“For home and community, prevent the tiger mosquito and prevent
In 2001 there were 4,964 reported cases of people
suffering from hemorrhagic fever caused by mosquito bites. 218 died.
The disease reaches its peak cycle from May to
September every year.
The training seminar stressed the importance of
controlling mosquito breeding by disposing of unnecessary pools of water
commonly found around many residences. A call was made to community
leaders to educate their fellow residents in preventing this potentially
Foreign tourist plummets to his death on Songkran eve
Police don’t know who it was or what floor it had fallen from
On April 12 at about 8:30 p.m., an unidentified foreign
tourist plummeted to his death from a high floor at the Mark Land
Condominium on Soi 1.
The body was crushed beyond recognition. The only clues
police had were 1,220 baht in the deceased’s pocket, an Internet
membership card and a packet of unknown tablets.
The security guard discovered the body in the condo’s
parking lot after hearing a large thud.
Due to the size of the building and the amount of
people staying there, police lieutenant Kriangsak, the investigator, said
that he did not know who the person was, or even what floor the body had
Condo employees told police they believed it might have
been Andrew Pratt, a foreign doctor living on the 19th floor. They said
they had knocked at his door but received no response. However, Dr Pratt
was later contacted in England.
The body was sent to the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in
Mobile phone stealing teenage freelance service girls busted
Tony and his staff nabbed the suspects
A gang of mobile phone stealing, freelance service
girls, led by 17-year-old Tookta Suteepong was busted last week after
getting caught red handed by the staff of Tony’s Entertainment Complex.
The gang mostly targeted foreigners’ mobile phones.
Surapon Songwonchartsonklai, also known as Tony, and
his staff detained Tookta and three others at 6 a.m.
When police finally arrived, the gang had in their
possession one Nokia mobile phone and 3,500 baht in cash. Police
confiscated the items as evidence.
Tookta and her friends confessed to the crime, telling
police that prior to being arrested she and her friends were unemployed
and ventured out into the evening to steal mobile phones and cash from
foreigners. She said they would then hock the phones to second hand shops
in Pattaya for a small profit of 1,000-2000 each phone.
Middle-aged Swedish couple burned in condo fire
Barely escape with their lives
Mr. Vaego and Mrs. and Makdanald (sic), a
50-year-old Swedish couple, barely escaped with their lives on April 12
when the condo they were renting caught fire. The two were asleep at the
It is not known how the couple were alerted to the fire
or how they got out, but good Samaritans took them both to Pattaya
Memorial Hospital where they were being treated for burns and smoke
At the time of this report, Vaego was out of danger and
being treated for burns. Mrs. Makdanald, however, was being kept in the
I.C.U. She had fallen unconscious from smoke inhalation. Both are in
stable condition and will remain in the hospital until they recover to
Fire police responded to the call at about 10:30 p.m.
to find the condo engulfed in flames and neighbors running from the
building in fear. Five fire brigade trucks and the Sawang Boriboon
Foundation were sent to the scene. It only took about 10 minutes to bring
the fire under control.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Kriangsak’s initial
investigation revealed that the cause of the fire was most likely an
electrical short circuit.
Damages were estimated to be about 100,000 baht.
Jealous husband arrested for attempted homicide
Police manhunt lasted over two weeks
Aphichat Maliwan, 45, was arrested last week from in
front of the Young Piggy Restaurant on Pattaya Third Road, and charged
with attempted murder. Aphichat allegedly shot his wife in the head on
April 5 after the couple had an argument over the amorous advances of a
young man towards the Mrs. in the couple’s jointly owned karaoke bar.
Aphichat returned to Pattaya after allegedly shooting his wife two weeks
earlier, he received a welcome from the Pattaya police who were anxiously
waiting for him.
The wife survived, but the shooting prompted a
nationwide manhunt for Aphichat, who police later learned had fled to his
hometown, Chiang Mai.
Aphichat and his wife Patchree own the Pen Karaoke, and
on the night of Apr 5 both were working at the nightclub. Apparently
Aphichat noticed a young man intimately teasing his wife. The scene made
him go mad with jealousy, leading to a violent argument with his wife.
Later the same night, Aphichat allegedly shot his wife in the head with a
.22 revolver while she was sleeping.
The manhunt lasted until Apr 20 when Aphichat returned
to Pattaya from Chiang Mai intending to continue with other businesses,
including getting back together with his recovered wife.
After his capture, Aphichat told police that he had
been living with Patchree for over a year, but after seeing the unpleasant
scene of his wife and another man in the karaoke, he became hot tempered
and committed the crime, then fled to Chiang Mai to wait for things to
German national found dead in his North Pattaya hotel room
Police believe anti-depressants and antibiotics mixed with alcohol may be cause of death
German national Harry Berthol (sic), 46, was
discovered dead in his hotel room in North Pattaya last week. Police
believe the cause of death may have been a mixture of anti-depressants,
antibiotics and alcohol accidentally taken together.
Police and Sawang Boriboon personnel examined the body
and found no apparent evidence of foul play.
An employee of the hotel, Aranya Bhunlampan, told
police that the deceased had been staying in the hotel for 2 months and
was akin to frequently consuming alcohol. This was perhaps verified by the
large number of empty bottles of beer and soda in the deceased’s room,
as well as antidepressant medication and antibiotics.
The police believe the man may have washed down the
anti-depressant medication with alcohol, which may have led to a heart
Police estimate the man had been dead for approximately
one or two days before being discovered.
The body was transferred to the Police Forensic
Institute for further examination.
Chinese tourist in a critical condition after falling from 2nd floor
Stumbles off balcony of a Naklua hotel whilst drinking
A Chinese Tourist, identified as Mr. Lu Bai Ying, aged
55, fell from the 2nd floor balcony of the hotel he was staying at in
Naklua on April 18.
When he was found, he was conscious and moaning in
great pain on the ground. He had sustained serious head injuries, and
broke his right elbow and left leg.
Police investigators officers learned that Lu had been
staying at the hotel for almost a month and on the day of the accident he
was sitting and drinking on the balcony and apparently just fell off.
He was rushed to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital for treatment
and at the time of this report was in serious but stable condition.
A police spokesman said that Lu was very lucky to have
survived the ordeal.
Swedish cargo ship crewman found dead in his condo
Chester Rickson, a Swedish cargo ship crewman, was
found dead in the living room of his condo on Soi 13. Rickson had been
suffering from diabetes.
Investigating police found no evident signs of injuries
or foul play, and estimated that the man had died 4 to 5 hours prior to
Police questioned a Ms. Songkran Sawad Singh, aged 44,
a friend of Chester’s who said that Chester was in town for holidays. He
had recently purchased the apartment.
Staff at the condominium block became concerned after
the man had not been seen out of his room for an unusually long period of
time, so they went to investigate and found the body on the floor, at
which time they called the police.
Police suspect that the man’s medical condition led
to a heart attack. The body was sent to the forensic institute for further
Military prepares for Cobra Gold 2002
Military Sealift Command Far East first on the scene
by Dub Allen
Public Affairs Officer
MSC Far East
Chuck Samet - Officials in
Bangkok and Washington, D. C. have announced the armed forces of Thailand,
Singapore and the United States will conduct the 21st Exercise Cobra in
Thailand from May 14-28.
Sealift Command contracted ship Motor Vessel (MV) Green Wave is the second
ship offloaded at Sattahip, Chuk Samet, Thailand in support of Cobra Gold
2002. Offloaded from Green Wave were more than 85 containers, 36 pieces of
rolling stock, more than 50 trailers of various sizes and kinds and
various other kinds of equipment. (U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2 Jennifer A.
Cobra Gold ’02 is a regularly-scheduled
joint/combined exercise and is the latest in the continuing series of U.
S. - Thai military exercises designed to ensure regional peace and
strengthen the ability of the Royal Thai Armed Forces to defend Thailand
or respond to regional contingencies.
Long before the opening ceremonies and speeches,
members of the U. S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Far East, of
Yokohama, Japan, deploy to the Thai Navy port here.
“We are a Naval reserve unit assigned to MSC Far East
and this deployment is our annual training or AT,” said Cmdr. Mary Meyer
of Plano, Texas, executive officer of Naval Reserve Military Sealift
Command Office, Korea 111 of Dallas and officer in charge of the first
detachment of the unit to Cobra Gold.
“Our unit is excited to participate in Cobra Gold,”
Meyer said. “This gives our unit the opportunity to perform our mission
as we have trained.
“This enables us to utilize our skills. In my opinion
there is no better training than doing.”
Of the seven ships coming, MV Green Wave, USNS William
W. Seay and HSV WestPac Express have never served in the exercise here.
The WestPac Express, high speed vessel, is one of the
newest contract ships with Military Sealift Command, coming under contract
in February for use in transporting U. S. Marines and Marine equipment in
the Pacific area.
“Being the newest means new ways of working ships,”
Meyer continued, “we’re doing what we would do if we are mobilized,
working with the latest and the greatest that MSC contracts to support
those American forces on the ground. The WestPac Express is a catamaran,
made with an aluminum hull and the first time here ... we will all work
together to do it right and safe.”
The arrival of USNS Seay, a large medium speed roll on
roll off or LMSR ship, will bring an added challenge to Meyer and her
reservists ... its size.
“USNS Seay is 950 feet in length and 106 feet on the
beam and a draft of 34 feet,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Andy Waite
of Dallas, command senior chief petty officer of the reserve detachment.
“As long as we ensure that the mooring is handled in a timely, safe
manner the rest of the operation should be completed easily.”
“Her ability to discharge cargo by rolling off should
allow the units to receive the equipment quickly.”
MSCO operations began when the first ship arrived here
pier side on April 16.
Cobra Gold ’02 is one of the largest exercises
involving U. S. Forces in the Pacific Command this year.
This year’s exercise will focus the participants on
peace enforcement operations and will include the planning and execution
of noncombatant evacuation operation, as these types of military
operations are increasingly called for in today’s world.
A recent example is the U. S., Thailand and Singapore
armed forces involvement in the peacekeeping mission in East Timor.
As in all previous Cobra Gold exercises, this exercise
will include joint-combined land, sea and air operations.
The exercise will also assist the people of Thailand
through combined Thai-U. S. medical and civil affairs projects.
Approximately 14,000 U. S. forces will participate,
including elements of U. S. Army, Pacific (USARPAC); U. S. Marine Corps
Forces, Pacific (MARFORPAC); and U. S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF); as well
as Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), Air Combat Command (ACC),
Air Mobility Command (AMC), Military Sealift Command (MSC) and reserve
elements from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.
Participating Thai Forces will number approximately
7,000 and will include elements of the Royal Thai Army, Navy, Marine Corps
and Air Force.
High Speed Vessel (HSV) WestPac Express passes by two Royal Thai Navy
frigates, HRMT Bhubhayodpha and HRMT Bhubhalerdla on its way to the pier
here carrying 215 Marines from the 3rd Battalion 12th Marines based on
Okinawa, Japan to take part in Cobra Gold 2002. (U.S. Navy Photograph by
PH2 Jennifer A. Smith)
As part of the Cobra Gold exercises, 6 six ships
will be anchored over two weekends in Pattaya Bay, as listed below.
About 6,000 sailors will be on the first flotilla to hit the bay
next weekend, whilst about 4,500 sailors will be with the second
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) 3-6 May 2002
USS Hopper (CG-65) 3-6 May 2002
USS Gary (FFG-51) 3-6 May 2002
USS Essex (LHD-2) 10-13 May 2002
USS Juneau (LPD-7) 10-13 May 2002
USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) 10-13 may 2002